21. Lyceum Theatre

Lyceum Theater

Built in 1903 producer-manager David Frohman, the Lyceum is Broadway’s oldest continually operating theater. When the theater opened, it had a state of the art ventilation system that kept it cool in the summers and warm in the winters. Forhman also built an apartment above the theater which had a small door with a view of the stage. Rumor has it that when his wife, actress Margaret Illington, was acting, he would wave a white handkerchief outside the door to tell her she was overacting. He partnered with his brother Charles on many productions, though their partnership ended when Charles died on the RMS Lusitania in 1915.

When it was built, it replaced the original Lyceum on 4th Avenue, which closed in 1902. Designed by architects Herts & Tallant in the Beaux-Arts style, today much of the original architecture survives. In 1940, the Lyceum was purchased by a consortium of producers but changed hands once again in 1950 when the Shubert’s took ownership. Along with being one of the oldest theaters still operating, the Lyceum was also the first theater to be granted landmark status in 1974. At three levels, it’s also one of the smallest theaters on Broadway in terms of capacity, able to seat only 950. Notable productions that ran here were the Broadway debut of The Good Country Girl (1950), Hatful of Rain (1955), Whoopi Golderberg (1984) her one-woman show.